Like many viruses, COVID-19 can affect just about anyone. However, it is a virus that can cause more complications in those with underlying or pre-existing conditions. For example, having a cardiovascular condition such as hypertension—more commonly known as high blood pressure—may increase your risk of severe illness from COVID-19. Therefore, it is important to equip yourself with the proper knowledge about the risks of hypertension and COVID-19, both separately and combined.
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. If your blood pressure levels are consistently above normal (130/80 mm Hg or higher), it could result in a diagnosis of hypertension, or high blood pressure. While hypertension is common, affecting tens of millions of adults in the U.S., it generally has no symptoms. However, you may be at risk of having hypertension if you:
- Have a diet that is too high in sodium and too low in potassium
- Are physically inactive or don’t complete regular physical activity
- Are overweight
- Frequently drink alcohol or use tobacco products
- Have a family history of high blood pressure
Whether or not you fall under these categories, it is still in your best interest to receive regular physical examinations that include blood pressure checks.
Potential Health Threats From Hypertension
If left undetected or uncontrolled, high blood pressure can over time lead to severe health conditions, including:
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Kidney disease or failure
- Vision loss
- Sexual dysfunction
- Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
Additionally, because hypertension can cause damage to your body and immune system, it can put you at an increased risk of suffering from complications caused by COVID-19.
The Connection Between Hypertension & COVID-19
A weakened immune system is a key reason why people with high blood pressure, and similar health problems, are at higher risk of developing complications from COVID-19. Chronic health conditions and the natural aging process can all weaken the immune system, making it difficult to fight off viruses. And since hypertension is a chronic health condition (especially if left untreated) and can affect those older in age, it can leave those individuals more susceptible to the serious effects of COVID-19. Furthermore, having high blood pressure can weaken your heart over time. This can make it difficult for your body to receive the oxygen-rich blood that it needs. COVID-19 can further damage the heart, which can be especially risky if it has already been weakened by the effects of high blood pressure.
Preventative Measures for COVID-19
While everyone should be taking the necessary precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19, it’s especially important for those with hypertension to partake in safe practices. To keep yourself healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19, the CDC recommends:
- Washing your hands - Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding close contact - Stay home whenever possible. Put at least six feet of distance between yourself and people who don’t live in your household if you do go out in public.
- Wearing a mask - You should wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth while in public settings and when around people who don’t live in your household.
- Cleaning and disinfecting - If you do go anywhere or have any visitors, it’s important to sanitize surfaces in your home and car, especially doorknobs, light switches, faucets, and handles.
Receive In-Home Care From DispatchHealth
If you do require prompt medical care related to hypertension, COVID-19, or another medical condition, you can turn to the health professionals at DispatchHealth. Rather than venturing out of your home in these unprecedented times, you can receive attentive treatment and care in the comfort of your own home. Our team is enforcing strict sanitation and protection protocols, and we will arrive at your place of need with most of the equipment and technologies found in traditional emergency rooms. To learn more about how DispatchHealth is responding to COVID-19 for those with hypertension and other underlying health concerns, contact us today. We are available through many channels including phone, mobile app, and our website.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies. Sources referenced in this article: